Word Count- 5,760
Originally posted on Lancer Writers for Christmas 2020.
A CHRISTMAS EMOJI STORY
Johnny was just finishing his morning ☕️ when Teresa came bustling in with a big 😀 on her face. “Well, Johnny, are you ready?”
Johnny was 🤔. “Ready for what?”
“And you’ll need these,” she added, throwing a pair of 🧤 at him. “And maybe this 🧣, too.”
Johnny took one look at the 🧣. “Teresa, honey, are you aiming to make me the 😂 stock of Morro Coyo?”
“Morro Coyo?” Now she was the one looking 🤔 and maybe just a little 😠. “You promised you’d take me to the orphanage up in the 🏔 so that we can give the 🧍🏼 🧍🏼♂️ 🧍🏼♀️🏃🏼♂️ 🏃🏼♀️ their Christmas 🎁.”
“Well, what about Scott?”
“Don’t you remember? He left with Murdoch this morning for Stockton to bring back that 🐮 Murdoch bought.”
“Oh, yeah. Right. You know, I’ve been feeling kinda 🤢 this morning. I think I might be coming down with a 🤧.”
“Johnny Lancer!” She 👈 at him and began tapping her 🦶.
“Okay, okay..” He held up his 🖐in surrender then pushed his 🍛 away and got up from his 🪑.
“Good, I’ve almost finished loading the 🎁into the wagon. Don’t forget your 🧥. It’s going to be…”
“I know. 🥶.”
Teresa 😄. “Well, maybe not that bad. See you out there.”
Johnny stared at the 🚪after she’d gone out. “Boy, that Scott must be some sort of 🧙♂️to trick me into a couple of cold days up in the 🏔 instead of visiting with some pretty 💃🏼. Well, at least she hasn’t asked me to find the 🧍🏼 🧍🏼♂️ 🧍🏼♀️ a 🎄!”
They managed to make good ⏲through the valley. The ☀️was shining, even though there were some ☁️ in the sky. Johnny 🤞 and hoped they didn’t get any rain otherwise they’d be delivering some very soggy 🎁.
Teresa was sitting beside him with a big 🙂 on her face.
“I guess you’re thinking about the 🧍 🧍♂️ 🧍♀️, huh?”
“Oh, Johnny, I can’t wait to see their 👦 👧 when they see what we’ve brought. But…” and she looked 🙁 of a sudden.
“It’s just that…well…everything would be perfect if we had a 🎅.”
Johnny’s first reaction was 😯. “Uh uh. No way.”
“But Johnny… !”🥺
“Nope. And that look might work on Murdoch but it sure as heck won’t work on me. Why, you’ve got more chance of seeing me dressed up like a…a…”
“Like a 🐻?” she said, making out like she was being real helpful.
“Well, it’s sure cold enough up here to be dressed like a 🐻. And you’d better hope we don’t run into any on our travels.”
“If Scott was here he’d do it.”
“Then you shoulda brought Scott along.”
Not that Johnny could imagine his brother dressing up like 🎅 either.
“Oh well.” She started looking 😞 but then she got that look in her eye. 😏
“What are you up to now? I mean, isn’t a Christmas🥳 and 🎁 enough for the 🧍 🧍♂️ 🧍♀️?”
“Johnny, it’s just that I want everything to be really special for them. I want them to know how much they’re ❤️.”
She sure ❤️ those kids. He even felt 😕 that he hadn’t wanted to come. “They’ll know it,” he told her. “Don’t you worry. They’ll know it.”
They rested the 🐎 by a 🏞 and ate their 🥪. Johnny pulled his 🧥 tight. It was getting 😰 now that they were up amongst the 🌲 🌳. Teresa was still picking 🌺 🌸 when Johnny told her they’d have to get going if they planned on getting to the 🏘⛪️ before the 🌙 came out.
He just hoped no-one was on the lookout for 🎅!!
The wagon rattled on but it was starting to get quite dark amongst the 🌲 🌳.
“I hope we’ll be there soon,” Teresa said. She was starting to look a bit 😟.
“And I hope you remember the way,” muttered Johnny, looking a bit 😟 himself. He was having to trust Teresa that she remembered the way. Twice she’d looked a bit 🤔 when they came to a 🍴 in the road.
Johnny had stared at her. 😧 “Teresa, are you sure about this? It’s usually just a fork in the road, not a knife as well!”
She just 🤷. “Well, it has been a while since I was up here and Murdoch drove that time so I didn’t take a whole lot of notice.”
Johnny sighed.🥺 It was possibly going to turn into a very long trip. He hauled on the brake and brought the wagon to a halt. “So, do we follow the fork or the knife?”
“There isn’t a 🥄 anywhere, is there?” 😁
“Very funny.” 🤨
“Seriously, it’s definitely that way.” She’d pointed at the track running north, so Johnny figured it was as good a bet as any. Johnny clicked his tongue and the pair of 🐎 got going again.
They’d only gone a short way down the track when Johnny looked up at the 🌿 and he didn’t like what he saw. The branches were bending this way and that in the 🌬. Teresa grabbed hold of her 👒 as a family of 🐰 hopped across the path in front of them and into the 🌾 on the other side. They were moving like their lives depended on it.
When a 🦊ran by as well, Johnny started 🤔 if they all knew something he didn’t. They way they moved looked an awful lot like 🐀 deserting a sinking 🚢.
Well, he didn’t want to 😬 Teresa any so he kept those thoughts to himself.
“It’s getting awfully 🌬 isn’t it.” He took a quick look at the 🙃 on her face. She was doing her best to sound upbeat but she was getting a bit 😐 like he was. The last thing they needed was a full blown 🌬 💨 💧 💦!!
And just as he thought that, the wagon hit a 🥔. (Well, it was either a boulder or a very large and very solid loaf of bread.)
Teresa looked at Johnny as the wagon lurched. “Uh oh.” 😦
🤫 “Don’t even think it!”
“I think the ☸️ will hold.” Heck, if he said it loud enough, it might even be true. Sure he could feel it wobbling a bit under their seat but he’d had worse.
She was quiet for at least a second but then said, “Johnny, I think…”
“Teresa, I know the ☸️ has a bit of a wobble but surely we can’t be too far from the 🏡 by now.” 😡
Teresa just looked at him then said in a very small voice, “What I was trying to say is; I think we’re lost.” 😢
Johnny brought the wagon to a halt. “Lost? Did you say we’re lost?” 😠
“Well, we can’t be too far off the track, can we?” 🤔
“With this 🌬, no 🌙 and a busted ☸️, even one mile off the track is a damned nuisance.”
😕 “I’m so sorry, Johnny. I don’t know how I came to make such a mistake.”
“Oh well, it’s no good 😢 over spilt 🥛.”
He did his best to sound more 😂 but to be honest, he was 🥶and 🥱 and mending a wagon, in the middle of a 🌲 🌳 with almost no 💡 was hardly his idea of a good 🕕 especially this close to Christmas.
Teresa turned around and looked at the wagon loaded with 🎁. “I hope we won’t have to unload everything for you to fix the wheel.”
Johnny set the brake then climbed down from the 🪑 of the wagon. Somewhere, under all the 🎁 he should be able to find a 🛠🧰. He started rummaging while Teresa lit a 🕯.
She held it high, shedding some light over the wagon. “What are you looking for 🔍 for?”
“There should be a 🛠🧰 under here somewhere,” he muttered, lifting some more bags. “I’m sure it’s here somewhere.”
“Um, what? Hold that candle higher, would you.” Johnny rummaged some more.
“Um…it wouldn’t have been a small 🟥 box, would it?” 😐
😀 “Yes, that’s it exactly!”
“Well, I had so many bags and it was kind of in the way so I…”
😠 “Don’t tell me you left the 🛠🧰 back at Lancer?”
“I’m sorry.” 😔
🤯!!! What he really wanted to do was 🤬 very loudly; but dang it, she was looking so 🥺 about everything.
“Aw, Teresa, don’t look like that. I should be able to fix the ☸️ come morning.” He looked around. “Why don’t you see if we’ve got any 🥪 left and I’ll get a 🔥 going.”
“At least we won’t starve.” She held up a bag. “See, I’ve got bags of 🍭 🍬 🍫.” 😀
Right now all he wanted was a 🍺 and a nice juicy Lancer 🥩and boy, it was pretty hard to get that out of his head as he walked across to the 🌲 🌳 to find some wood to start a 🔥.
Maybe it was his fault for not looking where he was going or maybe it was just so dark away from Teresa’s 🕯 that his eyes were taking a while to get used to it or maybe it was because he was still pretty 🤯up about how everything was going…
Whatever the reason – he never saw what 🤛 him.
“Johnny, whatever happened?” 😮
Johnny opened his eyes. 😶 For some reason, two 👯 were standing over him.
They both looked kinda like Teresa, although he had to admit, she usually wore a👗 or at least a pair of 👖. Murdoch sure wouldn’t let her go out looking like that.
Even stranger was how the hell he came to be lying flat on his back on a 🌘night in the middle of a 🌲 🌳. 😟
“Johnny, are you all right?”
He got his 🤲 underneath him and sat up.
Teresa (at least there was only one of her now – and she was dressed!) brought the 🕯 up to his face.
“Oh, Johnny, your poor 🤕.”
He put his hand up to his forehead. Sure enough, he could already feel an 🥚 starting to form. “I must’ve 🏃🏻 into something.”
“Probably the branch of one of the 🌲. Let me look at it.” She brought the 🕯 up close then passed it in front of his face then ➡️ then ⬆️ then ⬇️ then …😵
“Teresa, stop!” 🤚 “Sheesh, what are you trying to do – make me 🌊🤢?”
😠 “I’m just checking you’re 👌. In case you hadn’t noticed 🤨there aren’t many 👨⚕️ up here!”
Oh heck, now he’d done it.
😕 “Hey, I’m sorry. I know, you were just trying to help.” Only he didn’t get the 🌈 he’d been hoping for. It was more like a🌧.
Well, Teresa 😢 was pretty much how his 🎲 had been running all day. Where the hell was Scott when he needed him!
She’d plopped herself down like a woebegone sack of 🥔. “Oh, Johnny, this is all my fault.” 😥
“Aw, Teresa honey, no it ain’t.”
“It is. It is. I made you come up here, when you didn’t want to. Then I took the 🛠🧰out so that you couldn’t mend the wheel and then I managed to get us both lost and I don’t even have a 🗺️ so that we can work out where we are. And you’ve been 😠 with me the whole time.”😭
Well, maybe not the whole time.
“Teresa, it’s okay. Really. As soon as the ☀️ comes up I’ll work out a way to 👨🔧 the wheel and then we’ll find the 🏠 and all the 🧍 🧍♂️ 🧍♀️ will get their 🎅🎁.” He got to his 👣then held out his 🤝and she let him pull her up but she still looked 😔.
“Hey, I’m sorry I’ve been so 😡. I guess it’s just that…well…” Oh heck, maybe he should have told her the truth earlier…🤥 but some things are never easy to talk about… “Teresa, the thing is–“
“Oh, my.”😮 “Johnny, did you 👂 that?”
Johnny swung around. He sure did. “Teresa, 🤫.”
It was a damned pity he hadn’t got that 🔥 going. The last thing they needed right now was a pack of hungry 🐺!”
“Get behind me, Teresa.” He pushed her back with his 🤚.
“Oh, my gosh, Johnny, what can be making that noise?” 🥶
Johnny could 👂 a rustling amongst the 🍃 🍂 🍁on the forest floor and it was coming closer and closer and closer. He knew the dangers up here this 🕢 of year; when food was scarce because of the 🌬 and 🌨 up in the higher 🏔, 🐺 🐺would hunt in packs for 🥩 🍗. If they could strip a steer down to bare 🦴🦴 in minutes, what the heck could they do to Teresa and him!
“Johnny, they’re getting closer! I can hear their 🐾!” 😬
Johnny pushed her back further. “It’s 👌, I’m ready for them.” And he drew his 🔫 as the noise in the forest grew louder.
He knew his 📖🖍 had been smooth and fast, even if he did say so himself 🤠 so Teresa’s reaction was something of a 😮. It started off small,🤭 and then it got a bit bigger, 😅 and then it became loud! 😂
“Teresa, will you 🤫. What the heck are you trying to do? Tell every wild 🐻🐺 in the forest that their dinner is standing here waiting for them?” 😠
It didn’t help any. It only made her 😂 more.
“Oh, Johnny, 😂. I can’t help it.” 🤣
😐”Well, what’s so funny?”
She took one look at him and that set her off again. 🤣 Finally, she managed to point at him. “It’s your 🔫!!” 🤣🤣 “What on earth are you planning to do with it – 🚿 the wolves to ⚰️?”
And that set her off again.
😡”For your information, I brought this 🔫 with me because I didn’t want to scare the kids!”
She was bent over now and holding onto her sides but after a bit she managed to raise her head and gasp out, “The great Johnny Madrid, with a 🔫. If only Scott was here to see it.” 🤣🤣
“Oh, boy! So, that’s the thanks I get, huh. Well, next time I’ll…”
It was Teresa’s scream that made him turn around.
Then they both stood there and stared.
Dammit, he hated it when she was right. It sure looked like this wasn’t the right type of 🔫 to bring after all…
“Teresa,” he muttered, “you’d better quit 😂 and start saying your🙏. I’ve got a feeling we’re gonna need’em.”
The sound of 🐾 became louder and louder and Johnny knew he had to 🤔 think fast.
“Johnny, do something!” 🥺
His only weapons were the 🔫 and Teresa but that would have to do.
He turned to Teresa. “I’m gonna use the 🔫.”
“No!” She 😮 at Johnny like he was 🤪. Well, he probably was.
“Teresa, as soon as you see the first of the 🐺🐺 I want you to open your 👄 and start 🎤🎶 just as 📣 as you possibly can.”
“What?” 😲 “Why would I do that?”
“Now I only need a split-second…”
“But I don’t understand. Why do you want me to 🎤🎶?”
Damn, this wasn’t the conversation he wanted to have with her right now. “Well, Teresa honey, it’s just that you’ve got such a beautiful voice. You’re like an 👼 when you sing.” 🤥
At least he didn’t have to say anything else because right then she yelled.
“Johnny, they’re here!”😱
Sure enough, when he spun around, standing on the edge of the🌲 🌳 was a row of 👿-looking 🐺🐺, snarling and growling and staring at him and Teresa with hungry 👀. Then they started coming forward in a straight ➖.
“Now, Teresa. Now!!”
At exactly the same same ⏲ as Teresa started🎤🎶, Johnny 📖🖍 his 🔫 and let loose with a 🚿 of water.
But it didn’t make any difference, the 🐺🐺🐺🐺🐺🐺🐺🐺🐺🐺🐺🐺🐺🐺🐺🐺🐺 kept coming.
And it wasn’t long before Johnny knew he was almost out of 💦. 😰
“You’ve gotta 🎤🎶 louder, Teresa.”
Even as he said that, his 🔫 fired the very last 💧. Johnny threw the 🔫 down and pulled out his🔪. “Teresa, get behind me. Teresa, now!”
But even as he said that, Teresa hit a 🎵 that was bad enough to make the 👹 himself 😭.
The 🐺🐺🐺🐺🐺 looked kinda 😮 and then they started tossing their heads like they were 😵😵😵😵😵!! Johnny had never seen anything like it.
“Keep going, Teresa.”
Her next 🎶 were even worse. Johnny was beginning to feel 🙁 for the 🐺🐺🐺🐺🐺. After all, he didn’t believe in being cruel to 🐃 🐂 🐄 🐎 🐖 🐏 🐑 🦙 🐐 🦌 🐕.
🤔Would Teresa notice if he blocked his 👂👂?
“It’s working, Johnny. You’re so clever.” 🤩
He didn’t have the 💜 to tell her it was her 🎤🎶 that did the trick. Scott told him one time that Teresa’s singing sounded like the whine of a 🤢🐈 but that seemed kinda unfair to the🐈 family, especially as they were such cute little things.
“Um…we’d better get a 🔥 going before any of the 🐺🐺 return.”
Teresa started 😂 as she picked up sticks.
“What’s so funny?” He sure couldn’t see anything 😂 about being stuck in the middle of nowhere two days before Christmas.
“Who would have thought 🐺🐺 didn’t appreciate✔️🤴Wenceslas.” And she 😂 some more.
They probably had as much 🎲 as he had in recognising it. “Yeah, well, I guess those 🐺🐺 aren’t very smart.”
“Hey, Johnny. Look at this.” She was holding up the biggest 🥔 he’d ever seen. “I found it in the middle of the road. We can roast it in the fire.”
It sure was a big 🥔.Well, maybe things were beginning to look ⬆️.
But he doubted it.
“Gosh, Johnny, this 🥔 is delicious.”
The 🔥 was burning bright and so far, there was no sign of any🐺🐺.
Johnny had reloaded his 🔫 by a 🏞 but he suspected the 🐺🐺 hadn’t shown up again because Teresa was still quietly 🎤🎶 Christmas carols.
At least, Johnny 🤔 that’s what she was singing but he could only recognise snatches here and there. They sounded awfully different when Scott 🎤🎶 any of them.
Johnny stirred the 🔥 up some more. “Are you 🥶? ” He’d given her the 🧣 she’d made him bring and she’d wrapped herself in a blanket from her bed at home.
“No, I’m warm as 🍞🥂.” She hummed a few more 🎶 then said, “Johnny, you never finished 🗣 me what you were going to say.”
“I didn’t?” 🤨
“You know. Before the wolves turned up. You were about to tell me something. I think you were going to 🗣 me about why you were so 😠about coming on this trip.”
Johnny stared into the 🔥. 🥺
“But if you’d rather not 🗣 about it, that’s 👌.”
Johnny sighed. “I guess there are 👻 from my past that I don’t like being reminded about.”
“Oh, Johnny, I’m so sorry.” 🙁
“The thing is…I don’t like orphanages. I spent some⏲ in one once and they were ☁ days where I didn’t see much 🌞.”
🙁 “I’m sorry, Johnny. I wish you’d told me that before. Then you could have gone to Stockton with Murdoch and Scott could have come up to the⛰ with me.”
“Nah. Besides, Scott doesn’t know how to handle a 🔫. He’d probably try to load it with bullets!.” 😂 “Don’t you worry about me none.”
But she wasn’t looking too convinced. 😟 “I don’t think this 🏡 will be like the one you lived in when you were a 🧒. And Mr and Mrs ♛ are wonderful people. They 🥰 the children. Why, they’re like one big 😄👨👩👧👦.”
“That sounds real nice. Come on. You’re looking pretty 😴. Why don’t you make a 🛏 by the 🔥 here.”
“What about you?”
“I’m not 😴. Besides, someone will need to keep ⌚ in case those 🐺🐺 decide to come calling again.”
She lay down and closed her 👀 with a sleepy 🥱. “Good night, Johnny.”
Johnny made sure the blanket was tucked around her 👂👂 and then he settled himself by the 🔥. Just him and his 👻 💀👻. And waited for 🌄.
Johnny had no idea what ⏰ it was. One thing he knew for sure; it would be many hours before the 🌞 rose over the ⛰.
He pulled his 🧥 closer around him then sighed. Normally he’d be 🥱 and warming his 🧦 this time of night in front of a big, blazing 🔥 at Lancer. Scott would have his 👃 stuck in a 📗 and Murdoch would be 🚬 his pipe.
All the same, there was something kinda nice about being out here under the ⭐⭐⭐ a few nights before Christmas, with just Teresa and the 🐎🐎 for company. Every so often he’d 👂 the hoot of an 🦉 in a nearby 🌳. It all made him think of a night a long, long ⏰ ago, when one ⭐ shone brighter than all the others. 🌟
Boy, that must’ve been a sight. And all for one 👶 boy.
Peace on earth, goodwill to men… 🎶
😕 He sighed again.
Peace on earth and goodwill to men – all the stuff Teresa had been🎤🎶 about. Well, he hadn’t been showing her much of that, had he. He should have been 🤔 about the 🧍♀️🧍🧍♀️🧍 in the orphanage, like Teresa was, and 🤔 about showing them a 🥳 time instead of letting all the 👻 from his past grab hold of him. Heck, if he could scare a pack of 🐺🐺 away with a 🚿 of water, how hard could it be to 🥾 out some of these 👴🏼 memories. It was 🎄 after all, the time to be 😂.
Just then the ☁☁☁ parted and he got a glimpse of the 🌙.
That did it: he made up his mind. As soon as it was 🌄 he was gonna 👨🔧 the ☸️ on the wagon and get Teresa to the 🏡 so that she could give the 🧍♀️🧍🧍♀️🧍 their 🎄🎁🎁.
“And I’ll even dress up as 🎅 if it makes everyone 😀!”
A 🦊 that was slinking by under the 🌲🌳 stopped short and looked at Johnny. 😮
Then the 🦉 hooted and Johnny 🤬 that it was hooting, “You fool. You fool.”
🤔 “Well, yeah, I probably am!” He started 🤭. “But if I end up dressing like 🎅, you keep your big 👄 shut and don’t tell Scott!”
He 🤭 some more – but then suddenly stopped. He’d just heard the darndest sound!
From somewhere in the 🌲🌳 he could 👂 what sounded like a 📯!!
Johnny jumped to his 🦶🦶 as if he had a lit 🧨 under his butt. “Whoa, what was that?”
“What was what?” Teresa opened her 👀 then glanced around with a big 🥱.
“I thought I heard…” Johnny began but he was beginning to feel pretty 🤪. Well, that’s what Teresa would think about him if he told her he heard a 📯 out here in the middle of nowhere. Maybe he’d fallen 😴 and hadn’t realised it? Best to laugh it off.🤭 “It was probably nothing. Or just that old 🦉 up there, hooting away.”
But no sooner were the words out of his 👄 …
😯 “Johnny, is that a 📯 I can 👂?”
“You can 👂 it too? Then I’m not going 🤪.” Boy, was he relieved. After the night they were having, he was ready to believe anything.
“Who would be blowing a 📯 up here?”
He didn’t blame her for sounding 😧. That was pretty much how he felt right now, especially as his only weapon was a 🔫!!
They both stared at the forest .😬 Was it his imagination or were the 🌳🌳🌳 beginning to 💃 in the icy 🌬 that suddenly blew up.
“Johnny, I’m 😬,” Teresa whispered. 🥺
Something landed on Johnny’s 👃 and he 🧹 it away. But then something fell past his 👀 and landed on his 🧥. Aw heck, he knew what that was.
Teresa jumped up with her 🖐🖐 out stretched. “Oh, my goodness, Johnny. It’s 🌨! Who would have thought!” Then she grabbed the 🕯 and held it up. Sure enough, the air was full of ❄️❄️❄️❄️drifting silently onto the ground. She stuck her 😛 out and somehow managed to catch one. “Johnny, isn’t this 🥳! Why don’t you try, too!”
He was 😃 to see her having such a good ⏰ but he hadn’t forgotten about the mysterious 📯 🎶 they’d both been hearing. Teresa was 🏃♀️ around now and 😂, trying to ⛹️♀️ more ❄️❄️❄️ on her 👅.
“Teresa, honey, I think you need to 🤫.”
“But Johnny, I’m having so much 🥳! What a pity Scott isn’t here. He loves the 🌨.”
😠 “Teresa, you really need to 🤫.”
He wasn’t sure what made him turn around. Maybe he heard 👣steps? Whatever the reason, instinct kicked in and he 📖🖍 his 🔫 as a figure stepped out of the 🌳🌳🌳🌳.
“Well, bless my soul,” the man said, “I’ve been 👀 for you two.”
Johnny couldn’t get a word out.🤐 After all, what do you say to 🎅?
Johnny blinked. Then blinked again. 😑
“Um, Teresa, do you see what I’m 👀?”
But she was still 🏃♀️ around and 😂, trying to catch ❄️❄️❄️ on her 👅.
And if she’d bothered to look, she would have seen a cheery old guy with a white beard and red 🎅. In fact, he was dressed in 🟥 from head to toe.
“Teresa!” 😠 “Will you shut up!”
🎅 was looking at Johnny with a big 😁 on his face and Johnny 😂 when he saw him, in spite of himself.
“You’ve chosen an interesting 🔫 my boy, I must say. But please don’t point it in my direction. I don’t fancy a 🚿 this time of night.” 🤣
Johnny quickly put his 🔫 away. “Oh yeah, sorry about that.” Gosh, 😐 he didn’t want to have to explain to Murdoch that he shot 🎅.
The little guy laughed some more and Johnny couldn’t help but notice that he had a little round belly. 😐!! And sure enough, when he 🤣 it shook like a 🥣 full of 🍮!!!
And as if that wasn’t bad enough, his cheeks were like 🌹🌹 and his nose like a 🍒!!!!
Johnny was beginning to feel awful 🤢. Maybe he was feeling so woozy🥴 because of his sore 🤕 when he ran into the 🎄?
🤔Wait a minute…it wasn’t a 🎄 tree he ran into. 🙄 It was just a plain🌲 tree.
And why had it got so damned quiet of a sudden? Teresa had stopped 😂 and now that the 🐺🐺 had gone, not a creature was stirring.
Dios, not even a 🐁!!!
Johnny gulped. 😳 This was bad. Very bad. “Um…Teresa…”
And just then, Teresa turned around and saw what his 👀 saw. Well, he hoped that’s what she saw 🥺 or he’d be checking himself into the nearest 🏥.
😲 “Oh my,” she screamed. “It can’t be!”
Teresa started jumping up and down so much that Johnny half expected her to start doing 🤸♀️🤸♀️. “Oh, my gosh,” she screamed again. “I can’t believe it. How did you 🕵️ us?”
🎅 laughed at them both. (And Johnny tried very hard to keep his 👀 off the man’s belly.)
“Well, it was quite simple, my dear. When you didn’t show up, I hitched the 🦌🦌 🦌🦌 onto my 🛷 and came looking for you.” His 👀 went to their wagon with its broken ☸️. “And it’s just as well I did. The two of you wouldn’t want to be stuck out here when it’s 🌨.”
Johnny stared into the night. “You have a sleigh?” 😯
“Well, I only use it when it’s been 🌨 for a good while – so tonight, I walked.”
😯 “You walked all the way out here?” For once Teresa was sounding surprised.
🎅 nodded. “Oh yes, it’s quite safe this time of night. The only thing I have to be careful of is 🐺🐺. That’s why I blow my 📯.”
She clasped her 🤲 together. “How clever of you!” 🤩
🤨Well, Johnny couldn’t see what was so clever about a 📯. Probably not as clever as Johnny’s 🔫 had been. Johnny took it out and spun it around his 👈. “Actually, 🐺🐺 don’t like 🚿, either.”
“Oh, yes, Mister ♛. Johnny was so brave when the 🐺🐺 showed up.”
Had Johnny heard right? 😮 “Teresa, did you say Mr Crown?”
🤔 “I don’t know why you’re looking at me like that. I told you about Mr and Mrs ♛. They run the orphanage.”
Johnny had to stop himself from 🤜 his forehead. “Oh yeah. Right. Of course.” 😐
Teresa started 😄. “I suppose you thought it was Santa Claus himself.” 🤭
“Me! 😕Hah! What makes you say that? No…of course not. I mean…I’m not 🤪 or anything.” Heck, at least he sure hoped he wasn’t! 🙄 He was definitely going to blame his 🤕.
Mr Crown 🤝 hands with Johnny. “Goodness, I must look a sight! I’d dressed up as Santa for the children, then I rushed straight out when Martha said she was 😟 that you hadn’t turned up.”
🥴 “No sleigh, huh?”
🤭 “Oh, Johnny, you’re so funny. Isn’t he Mister ♛!”
“Hah, hah, he is at that!” 😉
The ❄️❄️❄️ were still drifting down. Santa…er…Mr Crown, rubbed his 🧤🤲 together. “Well, I have good news for you both; the 🏡 is just over the hill. Not far to walk. We’ll be there in ten ⏱.”
Only ten minutes! 😊 Now that was the best 📰 Johnny had had all day! And to think Teresa’s directions had made him think they were miles away.
Teresa gathered up her 👜”But I suppose all the 🧍♀️🧍🧍♀️🧍 will be 😴?” ☹️
“Don’t you worry about that none. When we get back Martha will give you both some nice hot ☕️ and 🍵 and then you can head to your rooms and 🛏. You both look like you could do with some sleep.”
Johnny knew he sure did. 🥱 It had been the strangest night.
And there was one thing he promised himself as he walked along: he sure as heck wasn’t gonna let Scott read from that dumb 📖 again. He’d had more than enough of bellies and 🥣 full of 🍮 to last him a lifetime!
A CHRISTMAS EMOJI STORY: EPILOGUE
It was the sound of 😄 that woke Johnny the next morning. He 🥱 and stretched out his 🦵🦵 in the warm bed ‘Santa’ had given him last night.
The 🌞 was peeping through the curtains so it looked like they wouldn’t have to travel home with it 🌨.
Just then the 🚪 squeaked and he saw not 🧑 not 👧 🧒 but 👨🏽🦱🧑👧 🧒 👩🏾🦰 little faces, peeping around the door. It was just as well he hadn’t bothered to take off his 👔 when he got into bed. Well, he took the tie off – and he was still scratching his head over how he came to be wearing one! 🤨
He got a chorus of little 👼 answering back, “Good morning, Johnny.” And then they giggled and scampered off like naughty 😺.
“Johnny, are you going to 😴 all morning long?” Teresa called through the 🚪.
“No, I’m comin’. Give me a minute to put my 👖 on.”
He took a few minutes longer because someone had left a bowl of water, 🧼 and a🪒 so he had a quick shave.
By the time he came out, the long table was filled with kids all sitting quietly on their 🪑🪑🪑 and clearly waiting for him so that they could start eating their 🥓 and 🍳🍳 along with their 🥛.
Wow, these kids sure ate well.
He took his 🪑 next to Teresa and pretty soon he too, was hoeing into 🥓 and 🍳.
His sore 🤕 from last night had disappeared with the ❄️❄️❄️and he was feeling ready to do a few 🤸🏽♂️🤸🏽♂️ himself.
He had to admit, it was hard to hold back a 😂 every time he thought of old Mister ♛ turning up in the dark like 🎅. Funnier still that he really did have some tame 🦌🦌 🦌 and a 🛷. Scott was never gonna believe all this.
By the 💡 of day, Mr and Mrs ♛ looked like really kind old folk who 💖 kids. 👨🦳👵 Just like Teresa had said.
After breakfast Teresa gave out all the 🎁🎁 and 🍭 🍬 . Then Johnny helped the boys fly their new 🪁 and Teresa played with the 👶👶 and little 👧👧 who clearly ❤️ her.
And so much for Teresa wanting him to be 🎅! Not only did they already have a 🎅 thanks to 👨🦳 but it turned out the older boys weren’t interested in a little fat guy dressed in red; nope, they’d been waiting for Johnny Madrid! 🤠 Course, they were a little 🙁 he only wore his 🔫 but when he told them how he used it to 🚿 the 🐺🐺 they were pretty impressed.
Toby’s eyes went wide. “Oh boy, Johnny. I wish we’d been there to see it!” 🤩
“Now you kids, don’t go getting any ideas. A couple of those 🐺🐺 would eat you for supper!” 🤞 Heck, he hoped he hadn’t given any of the kids ideas! Maybe they’d better get going before he lit a 🔥 that he couldn’t put out!
After all they’d gone through, it was kinda 😢 as they 👋 good-bye to the kids and 👨🦳👵.
Johnny and Teresa both 🤞 they’d come back soon. Johnny released the brake and the 🐎🐎 moved off.
“Goodbye! Goodbye! Goodbye!” 👨🏽🦱🧑👧
After travelling a mile or so, Johnny 🙂 at Teresa. “You know what?”
“I’m real glad I came along. You were right. It was nothing like the 🏘 I was in when I was a 🧒🏽.”
😘 “Merry Christmas, Johnny.”
“Merry 🎄, Teresa.”
January 6th, 2021
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